Medical Evaluation of Child Sexual Abuse: Why Can’t We Be More Like CSI?

Brief Overview: A child abuse pediatrician will present an overview of the medical evaluation for suspected sexual abuse. Examples of the different roles between physician and nurse providers will be outlined stressing the necessity of specialized training regardless of degree and the importance of participating in ongoing education and case review for quality assurance. Salient features of how the exam is performed, findings interpreted, and when/how collection of DNA/laboratory specimens are collected. Specific attention will be paid to why most children who have been sexually abused will have “normal” exams and why that typically does not discount or rule out a child’s disclosure of sexual assault/abuse. Content will be appropriate for both medical and non-medical child abuse professionals.

Expert Presenter: Karen Farst, MD, MPH, has worked as a child abuse pediatrician with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Center for Children at Risk and Arkansas Children’s Hospital since 2004. After an internal medicine/pediatrics residency, she was in primary care private practice for 3 years before completing a fellowship in child abuse pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Her work duties at Arkansas Children’s Hospital include medical evaluations and court testimony for cases of abuse and neglect, education of medical and non-medical professionals on the medical aspects of child maltreatment, and administrative leadership of the Center for Children at Risk located in the Clark Center for Safe and Healthy Children on the campus of Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

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